THE head of the business district in Ealing has restated his support for a controversial development which he says will “arrest the decline” of the town centre.

Peter Smith, chairman of Ealing Business Improvement District (BID), threw his weight firmly behind the new plans for the Arcadia Centre in Ealing Broadway and said businesses in the area should support the scheme.

He said: “The business community stands full square behind these proposals and we start to detect the beginnings of a momentum for change.

“This needs to be encouraged by everyone wanting to arrest Ealing’s decline and reassert its west London Metropolitan status.

“Let’s hope all those involved in the delivery of these plans keep their resolve and allow the town to move forward.”

The development has come under intense scrutiny from local residents, some of whom vehemently oppose the size of the proposed tower block which would stretch 26 storeys into the sky.

However, the Ealing BID board has voted in favour of renewing its support of the scheme, set out by Irish firm Glenkerrin, which they believe will improve the overall design of the centre of Ealing.

The town centre now finds itself in competition for shoppers and retailers with the new Westfield shopping centre in Shepherd's Bush.

The BID leaders hope the Acardia Centre would be able to attract more businesses to the area and help Ealing compete.

However, a host of residents remain opposed to the development and believe its passage through the planning committee is being rushed.

A deadline of Friday, December 5, has been set for comments on the new designs for the centre, which now include wooden balconies running around the outside of the building.